Introduction: The Amazing Color Ball "chandelier"

I'm a big fan of all things colorfull and shiny - this is why (although i'm really not a christmas person) i adore christmas ornaments. but having christmas ornaments up in your home all year round is kind of ridiculous. so i came up with this "chandelier". it is an amazing piece of decoration by day and looks just as beautiful at night when the light is turnend on.
this way you can enjoy the colorfull, shiny beauty of christmas ornaments nomatter what time of the year it is.

i made this some time ago whithout taking pictures on the way - i tried to recreate some of the steps to make it more understandable.

Step 1: What You Will Need

here is what you need:
- LOTS and lots of christmas ornaments (plain round ones with only one color) in differerent colors and sizes.
i got most of them really cheap second hand from fleamarkets and thrift stores and the rest i inherited from my grandma. old ones are nicer because they are made from glas not plastic and have nicer colors and a little patina! you really need a lot, i think i used at least 150. to be on the safe side rather get more then less, i you have some "leftovers" you can always decorate your tree with it next christmas.

- an old lampshade: it has to be a half-dome shaped one that consists of a wire "skeleton" upholstered with a fabric cover (see the picture). you only need the lampshade, none of the other parts like cables, bulb socket, ...
it should not be too small so that you will end up with a nice big chandelier, mine had a diameter of about 50 cm.
sooo: i recently discovered that, in my crafts-supply-store of choice, they actually sell the wire frames you will need - and i mean why should you not be able to buy these. it is just cheaper buying a used lampshade at a goodwill store for 1 or 2 euros (or finding it lying it around on the street like i did) then buying a new frame for 15 euros.

i made the chandelier a while ago without taking photos an the way. so in order to recreate some of the steps i bought a cone shaped frame that i want to use for another project - this is NOT the frame i used for this project! i just used it for demonstrational purposes! the one i used was dome-shaped.

- strong thread

- chicken wire

- pliers / wire cutter

- rope

Step 2: Preparing the Lampshade, Part 1

if you did not buy a new frame, first you have to get the fabric of the lampshade, we only need the "skeleton" wire frame.

what happens now is that you have to wrap the frame in chicken wire, so that you end up with a half-dome of chicken wire. that way you will later be able to attach the ornaments all over the half dome frame.

start with cutting a piece of chicken wire.

you will need a rectangle, its length should be slightly longer (about 10 cm) than the circumference of your frame.
(just wrap the chicken wire once around the frame so that it is slightly overlapping and the cut, see pictures).
the hight of the rectangle should be about 10 cm longer than the "side wires" (i don't know how to call them) of the frame. see picture.

Step 3: Prepping the Lampshade, Part 2: Wrapping the Frame

a warning first: the pointy wire ends can hurt your hands, so it might be better to do this with protctive gloves. i did not wear any, though, because i found it easier to do such fiddly small scale work without gloves and i didn't mind the occasional poke. do what you consider best for you!

you will not need extra wire to attach the chicken wire to the frame as long as you cut the chicken wire in way that the ends are long enough to be wrapped around the frame (see picture).

since you have a rectangular piece of wire and a dome shaped form, there will be some wire cutting involved.

on one of the 2 longer sides of the wire rectangular there will be loose wires from cutting. start by attaching that side to the ring of the frame. only attach about one "segment" at a time. pliers do help a lot with the wire wrapping. see that the wire lies more or less flat on the first segment and attach open end of the wire to the first of the frame elements connecting the big outer ring of the frame to the smaller one in the center. you will already have to cut some of the chicken wire away for this.

sorry, if these instructions seem a bit weird - i find it very hard to put them into easy understandayble sentences.... just look at the pictures and wrap away,it is not really difficult, before this project i never wrapped anything in chicken wire and it turned out fine...

from there on, working segment by segment, always attach the wire first to the big ring of the frame and then cut and wrap so that the wire lies more or less flat. i can also overlap in places, the good thing is you can also attach it to itself. also keep in mind that you will not see any of they wire in the finished project so it doesn't have to look super beautiful.

continue the whole frame is covered with wire - you will have a half-dome of chicken wire.

Step 4: Prepare the Chrismas Ornaments

cut as many about 50cm long pieces of strong thread as you have christmas ornaments.
then double each of the pieces, put the end with the "loop" through the eyelet wich is used to hang the ornament on the tree (just look at the pictures..) about 2 cms. put the loose ends through the loop and pull at the loose ends. you now have an ornament with a string attached to it.
prepare all the other ornaments the same way.

make sure that the strings hanging from the ornaments don't get tangled into each other - that happens much faster than you'd like.

Step 5: Hanging the Frame

to attach the ornaments to the frame, you need to be able to access all sides of the frame and it needs to be hanging from somewhere, because you need to put the ornaments at the bottom of the frame and the ornaments (at least if they're glass ones) are VERY fragile.
so in the house i live in there are pre-installed hooks next to where the lamp-cable comes out of the ceiling where i could hang my frame. if you don't have that i suggest you install one, because later on when you want to hang the chandelier, you have to have one anyway.

turn the frame upside down, so that it looks like a bowl. tie a piece of rope across the opening, then another one crosswise at a 90 degree angle. where they cross attach a long piece of rope or strong cotton band. tie the other end to the hook in the ceiling. the frame should hang at an height that you can comfortably reach to tie the ornaments to the frame. you have to think about if you rather work standing up or sitting on a chair. since it really takes a long time to attach all of them i did it sitting down because that was less tiring. so i had to hang my frame rather lower.

for the demonstration pictures i hung the frame from my clothes rail, you could do that as well

Step 6: Attaching the Ornaments

this is the part that takes up the most time.
just start with one ornament.
from the outside of the frame bowl, put the two ends of the attached thread on either side of one wire of the chicken wire and on the inside knot them together several times. cut of the excess thread close to the knot and continue with the next ornament.
start with the bigger ornaments, use the smaller ones later to fill the holes between bigger ones.
continue until all the frame is covered and you can't see the chicken wire from the outside anymore.
look to it that not all the same-colored ornaments are next to each other but to rather have a nice mix of colors everywhere.

Step 7: The End

now the only thing left to do is shortening the rope so that the chandelier hangs closer to the ceiling. or if you didn't hang it from the ceeling yet to transfer from where it hung before to a ceeling location of your choice.

when doing it, keep in mind that unlike a normal chandelier that lights up the room this chandelier actually blocks out some of the light coming from the lightbulb.
this is why i left about 30 cms between the ceeling and the chandelier. with the gap more light can escape and the bulb can light the room better.
also i recommend you use a lightbulb with at least 60 watts (or an energy saving bulb whose lumen count equals at least that of a 60 watt bulb)
just see how it fits your needs.

adjust the lenght of the lamp cable of the lamp so that the bulb hangs free in the inside of the bowl (see pictures).
i taped the lampfixture to the rope with some duct tape to keep it in place.

i have to say i really could have done a more beautiful job with the light fixture and so, but you can't see it anyway because the chandelier blocks the view so after all this work i thought why bother.

enjoy your new amazing chandelier!

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